How Do We Stop the Violence?


Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/

By now, you have heard of the school shooting in Townville, SC. That is not far from where I live.

I’ve shared with you my morning prayer for loved ones who attend or work in schools. It hasn’t changed. I still pray it every single day.

But we need more to heal our country’s wounds.

Why does this keep happening?

Our country’s steady, fast-moving drift from faith has created an environment for violence. There was a time when children grew up aware of the sanctity of life, taught to respect others whether you liked them or not. Taught that God made man in His own image, and life was precious.

That way of life is gone.

People who claim faith and spew hatred are not Christians. Satan finds them and exploits them. People who have turned from, or never knew, faith provide an ever-widening field of weapons for Satan’s arsenal.

Satan is real and he attacks where he can.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  I Peter 5:8

Have we, as a country, traveled too far from our faith, from our beliefs, that we can’t go back? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer.

How about you? How do we fix this?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’m inviting a discussion , one that provides insight and ideas, not accusations and hatred. Even if your idea seems small, it doesn’t matter. One person can make a difference.

How do we stop the violence?

Prayer of Humility and Selflessness


In 2011, I attended the very first Christian Communicator’s Conference (CCC).  This conference assists Christian women in developing and expanding their speaking ministries.  The conference propelled my life of faith into new levels of discovery as I sat at the feet of founders, Vonda Skelton and Carolyn Knefely. As an added bonus, I met several like-minded women with the same goal:  enhance our speaking careers to serve God.

In 2013 and 2014, I attended Advanced Conferences offered by Christian Communicators.  Over the years, I’ve forged friendships and come to admire so many of these women.  Their personal stories of faith amaze and inspire me. Even though I haven’t met all of them, many of them have touched my life in ways I never anticipated.

The most recent conference ended just a few weeks ago. This year, Vonda and Carolyn passed the baton to three new women to run the organization.  I’m excited to see what’s in store for this community of women.

The Prayer

As I’ve heard reports from the latest group of alumni, I’ve been reminded of the prayer Vonda and Carolyn use to send the participants back into the world. This prayer moves me each time I hear it. Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), it perfectly expresses a servant of Christ’s humility and selflessness.

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

The Appeal

Speakers and writers start serving others because they feel compelled to share and to help. It takes a certain level of ego to believe you have something to say, so they must fight the urge to be prideful about their service. It’s easy to forget why they started serving and to focus more on self rather than the ones served.

This prayer refocuses me.

I’ve highlighted in bold the parts that are hardest for me. (You have no idea how hard it is to admit this!)

Which parts of the prayer are hardest for you?


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Praying On the First Day of School

First Grade Messenger Photo 1967 - Copy

My picture in the local paper before I started 1st Grade.

It’s hard to believe the first day of school is here.  It feels like yesterday I wrote about the last day of school.

Today as I dropped my grandchildren off for their first days in fourth grade and in kindergarten, I prayed for their safety as well as the safety of their schools and buses. I, also, prayed for each of their teachers by name as well as the bus drivers by name.

Do you pray for your children, their schools, and teachers? Our children are growing up in a world of increasing violence.  When I attended school, I never feared a gunman might enter the school and kill children, yet that is our normal.  So I pray…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7

I started praying for my granddaughter, Victoria, when she was in kindergarten. Her brother, Amari, started kindergarten today and has the same wonderful teachers his sister had.  I have hazy memories of kindergarten, but it was a fun and happy time.  I pray his kindergarten year will be fun, too.

Victoria is now in fourth grade.  I have memories of all my school years, but I have many more from the fourth grade and beyond than the earlier years.  I had Mrs. Christenberry, a friend of our family and the same teacher my older sister and brother had.  I really began to love school that year.  I hope Victoria does the same.

Last June, I shared my prayer frame with my readers, but, so you don’t have to jump back to that post, I’m sharing it again.  I pray this for all of my grandchildren and family members (immediate and distant) who work on school properties. It’s important to me to do this every day.  After I pray, I feel I can move on with my day.

If you don’t have a loved one attending or working in a school, then pray for the nearest schools or your neighbor’s family members.

Here is my prayer:

Our heavenly father, today I lift up [the name of the school] before you and ask your protection over this school. Do not let anyone or anything that would cause harm or evil to cross over the borders, boundaries, or threshold of this school.  Please be with the faculty, staff, administration, volunteers, and students and bless them with patience and caring for their students. Lord especially, I lift up [teachers’ names and others who have contact with my children] and ask a special blessing upon them. Amen.

When I started praying this prayer, I chose to protect the borders, boundaries, and thresholds of the schools.  You might wonder why I used those terms instead of praying for hedges of protection.  The borders cover the boundary lines around the school property, the threshold protects the interior of the school, and the boundaries protect it from above and below.  Hedges, to me, never satisfied all of the potential directions harm can strike at the school.

The important point is not how you pray, it’s that you PRAY.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thess. 5:16-18